The Five Best High School Football Rivalries in Wyoming
Football is more than just a sport, especially in a small state like Wyoming. For some towns, Friday night football games are the biggest events of the entire year. And with high school football season heating up, here's our list of the five best rivalries in the Cowboy State.
1. Sheridan vs. Gillette, 'The Energy Bowl' - Dating all the way back to 1922, this rivalry ranks among the oldest in the state. It also pits two traditional powerhouses versus each other in a battle for bragging rights and, usually, playoff seeding.
It wasn't always that competitive. Sheridan crushed Gillette by a score of 87-0 in their first meeting 93 years ago. When the Energy Bowl was introduced 35 years ago, the rivalry really heated up.
Although the recent addition of a second high school in Gillette has led some to wonder about the future of the game, the tradition was alive and well this year when the Camels edged the Broncs 20-14.
2. Lander vs. Riverton - Only 23 miles apart, these neighboring towns first met on the gridiron in 1922, when the Tigers shut out the Wolverines 60-0. Since then, Riverton has gotten the better end of the rivalry, leading the all time series 60-50-7.
Perhaps the most famous meeting came back in 1994, when the two bitter rivals met for a rematch in the Class 3A State Championship. Regarded by many as one of the best games ever played in Wyoming, Riverton won 33-27 to claim their first state football title in school history.
3. Cheyenne Central vs. Cheyenne East, 'The Capital City Bowl' - This rivalry began in 1960, which was East's inaugural season. It has been hotly contested ever since. Central narrowly defeated East in their first meeting by a score of 13-7. Although Central holds the edge in the all time rivalry, the Thunderbirds have turned the tide in recent years. East had won the last five meeting between the schools before the Indians upset East 20-17 earlier this year.
4. Natrona County vs. Kelly Walsh, 'The Oil Bowl' - The Oil Bowl recently celebrated its 51st anniversary. Since their first meeting in 1965, the rivalry has been largely one sided. Including this year's victory, Natrona County has compiled a record of 38-13. The Mustangs have also won all three playoff meetings between the schools.
One of the best games in 'Oil Bowl' history came back in 2013, when Kelly Walsh pulled off a 21-20 upset win in overtime. Natrona County would bounce back later that year, shutting out the Trojans 33-0 in the playoffs.
5. Green River vs. Rock Springs - Sadly, Green River was dropped to Class 3A in 2011, relegating this once bitter feud to a pre-season scrimmage for the past four years. The schools first met in 1923, when Rock Springs shut out the Wolves 40-0. Rock Springs would have the upper hand over the years, compiling a 59-33-4 all time record.
However, Green River would have the last laugh, wining their final meeting in 2010 by a score of 30-21. The Wolves also won the only playoff meeting between the two schools, beating the Tigers 27-7 on their way to the 2005 Class 5A State Title.